About Autumn

Society today has given us a perspective on how to define anything in everything. Someone's success is measured by what type of car they are using, or how much money they earn in a year. There really isn't one fixed measurement to define success. Truth is, everyone has their own ideas of success. Some of them find success in achievements and people's applauses, while for some it's as simple as having peace of mind. But we have this mindset shaped by the society and informations we are surrounded by. It limits our ability to think, sometimes even blocks our way of seeing things from a different point of view.

This reminds me of my Mother. She is in different in a way. Her obsession towards orderliness is such a pain, to the point I think it might be a disease? When we go to some store then, say, she wants to buy a patterned blouse, she needs to check whether the sleeves are in the same length. Then the neckline, whether it is symmetrical. The motives, whether it is symmetrical. She would hang two to three identical blouses (or if the store has a dozen, then she would hang them all) on the rack, look at them carefully, then pick the best one. Almost like a pageant contest. Like oh my god, who would've noticed if one of your sleeve have more flower patterns than the other sleeve? Why are we spending an extra 30 minute on this matter? 

My mother might have chosen to see the perfect blouse in symmetrical motives, while I chose to see perfection in time efficiency. But does perfection really exist or is it just one of the many concepts created by the society we're living in? If it really does exist then it should've applied to all members of the society, instead of just to some people. This then reminds me of a phrase I know: wabi sabi. Not to confuse you with that spicy green paste, wabi sabi is one of the Japanese philosophy of life-that has no equivalent word in English-that could translate to this: the beauty in imperfection.

"Both life and art are beautiful not because they are perfect and eternal, but because they are imperfect and fleeting"


Autumn is the one season I can relate the concept to. The time of the year when the leaves start to dry out then fall from the branch. Slowly the ground will start to be covered up in yellow and fiery red, a beautiful scenery for a sandwich date at the park. Little that we realize that this whole picture perfect comes from the imperfection the nature itself creates: decaying matters.

So as this dead butterfly I found in front of my house in Nerima, Tokyo. She welcomed me even before my doorbells. Clear as I remember, I had never seen the creature even before the temperature started to fall. Now that it has gotten a lot colder, she was lying gracefully before me. Though lifeless she was beautiful. With its perfect wings in the color of autumn leaves, my best guess was it died out of cold, or starvation. Even the leave knew how much of a beauty she is, that it lied right beside her, paying tributes in honor for her life as a part of the cycle of nature.

I found precious in age. In my worn out and obsolete paperbacks. I re-read my books through folded pages to find my favorite passages. I write some, both for actually taking notes and personal amusement. However, technology never cease to amaze us with its new inventions. Writings, visuals, sounds, nothing of what we hear, or see, or sense, that couldn't fit into a form of digital file. Things that does not age. None of our .docs and .pdfs and ebooks will get moist or moldy just because we keep them inside a folder for the longest time. Thus it's a good thing because it makes life easier-isn't it what it's all about?

One day in Koenji I found this little shop inside a desolated alley. It has a deer (if not a horse, completely forgot) head sculpture greeting my excitement as I enter the shop. Broken lamps and dislodged teeth toy, it had me at hello, or earlier than that if possible. I browse through the room in awe. That's when I found stacks of papers in the corner. Some are old photographs and postcards, real ones. It ages, you can tell by the rustic colors and peeled off edges. Unfortunately the postcards are not in any language I understand, and keeping pictures of old people (that most likely is in peace right now) inside my room didn't sound to me like a very nice idea. So I took one of this playing card, that says, "Piatnik nándor és fiai". It sounded beautiful even when I was not saying it out loud. Turned out it was Hungarian and possibly was made in 1950s. It has aged so beautifully as it is now at least three times my age.

Not everything in life suppose to become something beautiful and long-lasting. But to ignore them is to waste what life has granted. As we age we don't only get more powerful by experience, but also more vulnerable by time. What we have been through makes up who we are today. Life grants us gifts in the smiles engraved on our loved ones. In misery, in grief. In mourns. It will only take a while until we realize that these too, were gifts.


1 comment:

  1. Penang is a really beautiful town. One of my fave places to visit when I lived in Malaysia.

    Have a lovely week ahead! Xx



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